City of Madison, Bright Energy Solutions and Elementary School celebrate better lights

Clean Energy Resource Teams reports on a collaboration in Madison County that makes the school and the kids brighter…

Back in 2014, the gymnasium at the elementary school was in sore need of better lighting, and the students were primed and pumped for the retrofit. “The school had completed a partnership with the City of Madison Bright Energy Solutions—an energy saving education program—for the 4th grade class that school year,” says Principal Kipp Stender. “The program taught students about the importance and ways to implement energy efficiency savings with their parents at home. The lighting retrofit at the school was an additional way to show the students how energy savings could be implemented at a larger scale.”

City Manager Jon Radermacher added an example of how the program tested students’ math skills . “The students were given kits that included digital thermometers, LED nightlights, and three 23 watt compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). One of their projects was to calculate the annual savings of a year of CFL usage versus the 100 watt incandescent bulbs.”

Turns out the students like what they saw and even started to encourage it at home…

Back in 2014, the gymnasium at the elementary school was in sore need of better lighting, and the students were primed and pumped for the retrofit. “The school had completed a partnership with the City of Madison Bright Energy Solutions—an energy saving education program—for the 4th grade class that school year,” says Principal Kipp Stender. “The program taught students about the importance and ways to implement energy efficiency savings with their parents at home. The lighting retrofit at the school was an additional way to show the students how energy savings could be implemented at a larger scale.”

City Manager Jon Radermacher added an example of how the program tested students’ math skills . “The students were given kits that included digital thermometers, LED nightlights, and three 23 watt compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). One of their projects was to calculate the annual savings of a year of CFL usage versus the 100 watt incandescent bulbs.”

A nod to the 30 leaders recognized by the Southwest Initiative Foundation

To celebrate their 30 years of service, the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) has recognized 30 leaders in the region. Throughout the year they will be showcasing these local leaders, today we want to give a special nod to our own leader from Lac qui Parle County…

Cynthia Huse, Madison: Founding volunteer chair of the Madison Community Foundation, community leader and advocate.

We need great pictures of LqP County for our website. Can you help?

We have new website. We hope you like it! One of the things we really wanted was a site that would showcase the county. So as you can see we have a great space for new picturesLqP EDA header – now we just need to get some pictures. We thought we’d ask you to help.

Please send us pictures you’d like to see on the LqP EDA website. We are looking for pictures that are 1280 x 550 px. That’s roughly 13 x 6 inches. We can crop to fit so long as the main composition of the pictures suits the banner shape of the space.

You can send us your picture by email or post it on the LqP EDA Facebook page. Please include your name and the location of you image (or relevant description). We’ll add as many pictures as we can.

Senator Klobuchar visits Lac qui Parle Valley High School

Big news in the neighborhood! Senator Klobuchar visited LqVP High School last weekend. Minnesota Farm Guide covered the story…

Klobuchar, a member of the Senate Ag Committee, meets frequently with FFA chapters and members to discuss their plans and issues.

In a short speech, she called attention to the shortage of ag teachers. Agriculture offers many jobs for those who want to live in rural areas, and many of those jobs require the ability to use technology and science. She also mentioned the importance of developing broadband communication infrastructure.

She got to experience some of the great tech programs going on at the schools…

At Lac qui Parle Valley High School, Wes Anderson has overseen the ag program since the school opened in 1990.

Klobuchar took a tour that showed a classroom where students in a general course are building fishing rods and reels.

In a totally different direction, Anderson is also teaching biotechnology. He’s received over $100,000 in grants, with some of those grants coming from the Minnesota Ag Education Leadership Council, to enhance programs at school.

He used about $20,000 in grants to purchase curricula and equipment to experiment with gel electrophoresis in the biotechnology class.

The ag program also has a drone so students can learn more about that technology and its application in agriculture.

Students displayed one of their LqPV trailers, the “Hay Hauler 14” for big round bales, too.

Another class focused on plasma cutting/machining, and a student demonstrated the use of computers and robots to cut through metal.

Congrats to PJ Ellison – new director of LqP EDA

12751892_10154005717703417_897287383_oThe Lac qui Parle County Economic Development Authority is pleased to announce that Pamela J. Ellison has been hired as the new director of the organization, effective Wednesday, Jan. 20, and approved at the county economic development board meeting.

PJ has been with the County EDA in the capacity of the administrative assistant since November of 2013 and has continued to serve in this capacity during the interim period of the search and hiring process for the directorial position. She comes with a bachelor’s degree in organizational studies and business management from Bethel University in Arden Hills, Minn. Additionally, she has completed the basic economic development course offered at UMD, in Duluth, this past summer. She is also a member of the Community Development Society.

PJ has a varied and comprehensive background in many business sectors, having worked in many prominent large corporations both as a contractor and an employee as well as in small businesses. Being an entrepreneur in her own right, having run a home childcare business, a promotional company and a home based therapeutic oil business of her own; she has covered the gamut in many business sectors. PJ’s career began in the health care field as a file clerk in a teaching hospital and continued through various levels and moving to supervisory and management roles within the health care industry.

She has worked for Group Health Plan, Share Health Plan, currently Medica, and served as a project manager for Allina Heath Care to oversee their first NCQA accreditation process for the Medica product.  With experience in government and politics, she served in the Ventura Administration as the executive assistant for Lieutenant Governor Mae Schunk. She then departed the Governor’s Office to work with former State Senator George Pillsbury and former State Senator Gene Merriam as the director of field education for the Single House Legislature initiative.

LqP County flexes its vitality muscle with increase of nonprofits

RuralDispatches250_0How do you measure vitality in a rural community? According to Ben Winchester, the health of the local nonprofit sector is a good way to start. And Lac qui Parle county’s nonprofit sector has been growing, according to Winchester and noted by MinnPost

According to the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality, the number of nonprofit organizations in rural Minnesota has increased over the past few decades. Here in Lac qui Parle County, a triangle of prairie, small towns and farmland tucked between the Minnesota River and the South Dakota border, the number of nonprofits increased 19 percent between 2000 and 2010.

Extension demographer Ben Winchester conducted the research, crunching numbers provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Charitable Statistics. (Winchester’s research on this topic and others has fueled a rethinking of the rural narrative, which was covered in an earlier installment of Rural Dispatches).

And while it’s easy to think that an increase in nonprofits refects a community need, that’s not necessarily the case…

The trend suggests that nonprofits are really a reflection of a community’s interests and demographics rather than a response to needs that aren’t being served by government or the private sector. “Our rural areas are much more diverse economically, socially and culturally than they used to be,” he said.

While Lac qui Parle’s population declined 10 percent between 2000 and 2010, the number of nonprofits in the county increased from 69 organizations to 82, the research shows. Just to the east in Kandiyohi County, meanwhile, where the population increased 3 percent during that same decade, the number of nonprofits rose 17 percent. And in Houston County in far southeastern Minnesota, where the population declined 3 percent, the number of nonprofit organizations jumped by 42 percent.

Arts is offered as a possible support to the rural growth…

The trend suggests that nonprofits are really a reflection of a community’s interests and demographics rather than a response to needs that aren’t being served by government or the private sector. “Our rural areas are much more diverse economically, socially and culturally than they used to be,” he said.

While Lac qui Parle’s population declined 10 percent between 2000 and 2010, the number of nonprofits in the county increased from 69 organizations to 82, the research shows. Just to the east in Kandiyohi County, meanwhile, where the population increased 3 percent during that same decade, the number of nonprofits rose 17 percent. And in Houston County in far southeastern Minnesota, where the population declined 3 percent, the number of nonprofit organizations jumped by 42 percent.

The article ends with a caution. We are pleased to see LqP featured in a state-focused publication for our vitality; we are proud of the people highlighted in the article. We all know who they are because they have been such leaders – but leaders can’t do it alone! It’s a reminder to all of us to get involved – become a leader.

The trend suggests that nonprofits are really a reflection of a community’s interests and demographics rather than a response to needs that aren’t being served by government or the private sector. “Our rural areas are much more diverse economically, socially and culturally than they used to be,” he said.

While Lac qui Parle’s population declined 10 percent between 2000 and 2010, the number of nonprofits in the county increased from 69 organizations to 82, the research shows. Just to the east in Kandiyohi County, meanwhile, where the population increased 3 percent during that same decade, the number of nonprofits rose 17 percent. And in Houston County in far southeastern Minnesota, where the population declined 3 percent, the number of nonprofit organizations jumped by 42 percent.